Diary of a photographer.....Life, loves and Photography- how i got started in photography

November 21, 2013  •  6 Comments


Hi all you lovely people who has has found themselves here in my own little corner of cyber space :).... I started this blog a year ago , my new years resolution being to begin regular blogging as Id been told many times from my techy friends that blogging is essential to a business especially a creative one , as you will learn I'm defiantly not the most technical of people :) but...i am learning :)....so as i learn that most of the photographers who i love have their own blog ( and that i love to read about ) i finally saw through last years new years resolution :), on a business side of things I'm told it will be great for my website but from a creative aspect i felt it would be really therapeutic for me and really personal for my clients and future clients to really get to know me :) so I'm not going to keep this blog just strictly professional...im going to write with my heart :) 


Im promising to be honest about everything I'm thinking and feeling and about all different subjects, life, loves and of course photography :) so you you can get to know me :)...so here goes :) ...



i will try not to bore you and ill try to keep this short :) but i cant promise anything :)... i studied media .. tv and production in st.helens college i wanted to work in a creative industry , mainly acting or performing if I'm totally honest but when i was at that age i just didn't feel confident to do that,  i loved writing whether it be poetry, news articles and  stories, I've always loved the way words made me feel when i wrote and how they have always helped me express myself creatively when i didn't always know how or what to say especially when i was younger and quite shy....i always did have the most wild imagination and crazy dreams which i still now have to this day..ive seen many different worlds in my dreams and i look forward to sleeping to see what my next adventure will be, I've always wondered are all creative people this way? ...so i and my family assumed i would be some sort of writer/journalist ..

I loved making things , creating things and still now that hasn't changed :)...As I'm being honest here which i did promise i would be ..i didn't finish my HND ... although all my past employers didnt know this of course :) we all tell a few fibs on job interviews right? :)....well the thing is i did know what i was talking about , so none ever thought otherwise .

I was great at the practicals in media such as creating, filming and starring in  films etc but when it came to the listening in class and  handing the 'boring' work in on time  , i was never very good at it , i soon realised that everyone learns differently, and i learnt best actually doing things , creating things :) if I'm not interested in something, it something doesn't excite me and I'm not passionate about it, then i simply cannot do it or put my focus into it, I've always been this way, i used to wish i was different but now I've learn to embrace the way i am and work with it instead of against the grain of what makes me who i am :)

I had done a very small section of photography on my course , nothing to help me get a career out of it..we learnt how to make a pin hole camera , which i was fascinated with , i still am totally in awe of how a camera can capture a moment in time and space ...it is mind-blowing and truly an beautiful thing .

I, at the time of being in college had a saturday job in a shop where they had a portrait section, when a job became available i immediately applied, because id worked there a few years and because i exaggerated my photography knowledge i got the job! I was so excited even if it was just putting babies in really cringey costumes and props such as plant pots! Even now people from my hometown recognise me as that young 'photo girl' who put their children in plant pots as at that time everyone had their children photographed there as there wasn't much choice 11 years ago :)

I would love to say i was brilliant at taking pictures as soon as i picked up the camera but I'm afraid i wasn't :) i was terrible! But i did have the ideas and i did have the passion , and with passion you can pretty much achieve anything ( thats what i think) ..i stayed with that company for a good few years but they had branched out to digital studios ..( oh did i forget to mention at the beginning we worked on film! ) film!! can you imagine photographing with film nowadays?!! we had to wait a week for it to arrive back in the studio to check if the images we had taken were ok :) i remember opening the film bag with  part excitement part dread :).... Anyway ...i was working in a digital studio where i got promoted to assistant manager which i was terrible at as I'm rubbish at giving orders I'm too laid back for that ...i then was awarded with photographer of the year at the annual awards ceremony which i was so shocked and unbelievably happy about , still remember now how overwhelmed i was ..and i couldn't believe i,  little Lousie hendry had won something like that overall all the other people in the uk.

There was a photography company called venture that had studios worldwide which id always wanted to work for and loved their style and felt it was a style that i was developing,  i constantly checked for any vacancies that was local to me ,when i saw there was a new studio opening in Liverpool i plucked up the courage to apply. I was asked to go along for an interview and i couldn't believe it!!

I went along and was so nervous and as i got there the studio was huuuuge! there was lots of people , the big bosses of the company , the photographers, a model and around 12 other applicants, speaking to them all i realised i was completely out of my depth, they had so many qualifications in photography etc , i didn't even know how to use their camera , or use studio lights , where i had worked the lighting was already set! i soon realised i didn't actually know anything about photography apart from composition , and how to get the best from people.

When it came to my turn i had to have the style director show me how to use their camera , and also set up the lights , i knew what i wanted it to look like i just lacked the technical skills , i remember the shot i did i asked the girl to look to the side and kept lots of contemporary space to the left. When it came to editing in photoshop  had never used that either !! i felt so stupid and everyone else seemed to know what to do! i asked for guidance , again knowing what i wanted i kept it really simple , modern with punchy colours.

Id also worked really hard on cutting out my favourite images i had shot and put them neatly into a book to show them.

They offered me the position and i really cannot explain how happy  i was, i never thought i would be given a chance but it was explained to me that although i lacked technical skills, i was great with the model and made her feel at ease and was really friendly and bubbly,  my image i had photographed and edited  was exactly the style  what they was looking for , that i obviously had an eye for photography and sometimes thats worth more than qualifications :) 

That day was the start of everything!

From that day i worked so hard , i didn't have much of a life, as i had to work weekends , we had to shoot 9 sessions on those days each lasting an hour , we very rarely had a break, i would still be editing at 10.30pm , 4 hours after my shift finished, we wouldn't get paid for those extra hours but i wanted to be the best i could be so i stayed and tried to perfect my editing often getting home at midnight as i had to get a train.

Those days were tough and although when people leave that company they often feel very bitter towards it, as you do feel undervalued for all the hard work that you do, but it taught me so much, and i feel  those years spent working there felt to me like the years i spent learning as if id stayed at college  ..although i probably leant a lot more about photography as a career and business than if i had stayed at college.

It was around this time i was asked to star in a documentary about shopping for the BBC, which in turn ended up being about my aspirations and encouraged me to really think about what i wanted , where i was heading with my photography as up until then i didn't have a plan , the BBC took me to London to meet a top photographer , watch one of his photoshoots and arranged for me to set up my own photoshoot in a beautiful Hall in Liverpool, with 3 models and borrowed lighting from calumet i had to explore the building and come up with ideas , again i doubted myself never having photographed outside the studio i was working in but i loved it , i still now love the freedom a shoot not set in a studio gives you.



At this point i bought my own camera and photographed a friends wedding, i left venture and had a fantastic opportunity from a friends friend to rent his shop as a studio, it was in a different town but not too far away from my hometown, looking back i dont regret anything as it has led me to where i am now however in hindsight i realise you cannot open a buisness without any plan , any knowledge etc and no-one around you who knew either. The person whose shop it was really pushed me into opening sooner than i would have liked , i didn't even have time to register what was happening , but i guess i have a lot to thank that person for as I've always had a hard time believing in myself and probably wouldn't have had the courage to do so on my own.  Everyone was telling me to just go for it as it was a fantastic opportunity so i did! it was difficult at first , financially it was very difficult, my parents helped me out so much in which I'm eternally grateful for.

I moved to the apartment above the shop

I didn't really know at that point what equipment i definatley needed, i knew i needed a camera, studio lights , computer  but what kind etc? luckily i had someone i met at calumet who helped me through everything, when it came to the business side it was just a learn as i go process, buisness is something i still find difficult as I'm just not wired up that way , I'm a creative with a creative mind , and when it comes to business this seems so sensible and i guess so not me :) but I'm learning all the time :) 

I came up with the name Phunkd as at the time i just photographed studio sessions and my style was funky and modern and so this word expressed this and the shop looked great :) ( although now in all honesty i dont feel the word expresses my style of wedding photography but Phunkd is what people know me as and would be silly to change it now ) 

Having the shop was great in the fact it was in a great  position where cars drove past and saw me so it allowed me to later move where i didn't need to be on show anymore to attract customers as i already had a client base that now worked from word of mouth, although the shop was great , i soon realised something about myself, i hated routine, any sort of order to life made me unhappy. Having a shop meant i had to be open from certain time and be there from a certain time , everyone who knows me knows i am a free spirit and that same routine everyday i was realising was not for me, i felt it restricted my creativity and was more about business, after 2 years and the lease was up i decided i wanted to go and do something  that I REALLY wanted to do, i had felt very lonely at the shop, i kept telling myself i shouldn't as i have a great opportunity , my own shop , what was wrong with me? But sometimes you just have to realise no matter how great something may seem , if it isn't right for you then its never going to make you happy...



Id always wanted to live in a city , preferably London but i would miss my family too much for that ...so i decided on Manchester...i finally took the plunge ..i throw a huge New Years party at the shop before i left then that 1st week in january moved to a gorgeous apartment on salford quays! I fell in love with the place when i seen it, it was everything i wanted ...glass walls looking out over the city ...

I at first thought i would have had to open another studio and was looking around at options but being in the city they were either too expensive or too small or too big, i seen the ,most perfect quirky place to have a studio but the developer only wanted a long lease over 5 years and it was too much to commit to so i didn't take it ..but still now i think about that little place and if i was a different person who liked routine and responsibilities i would open a shop there in a second! :)..

But it obviously wasnt meant to be as in that first few weeks of moving i was receiving lots of requests from my clients for photoshoots , i explained i hadn't found a studio yet then i cant remember who had this brainwave idea but it was suggested to do my shoots from my apartment till i found somewhere.... it was a perfect space as was all white , i just needed to get white photography flooring, my clients seemed to love it there as they said it felt really calming and made them feel less nervous about having there photographs taken as it was a more natural environment...this changed my life!

I never thought i could photograph from home , as id always worked in a studio set up in a shop, but it worked :) and it keeps working 3 years on from then :) .....i loved the freedom , i love that my job doesn't feel like a job , that it feels more like my hobby, which makes me create with passion rather than with necessity.. i love that i can edit in my pjs and chunky knit socks with my puppy lay at the side of me with the music i love to listen to as loud as i want :) with my coconut candles burning  ..and sometimes admittedly with a glass of wine and  slice of halloumi cheese ! :)

Dont get me wrong , i probably would make  a lot more money if i was to have a shop as you are always seen by new people driving or walking past, you are constantly advertising yourself, but with the high cost of running a shop with business rates, rent etc, you then feel pressure so that you NEED to photograph for financial reasons rather than because you WANT  to photograph :) 

I loved living in Manchester and I'm so proud that i went and moved there and did what my heart craved to do...but i was feeling lonely towards the end of the second year....i felt my life and the people i love was in my hometown sthelens ...and i always felt very sad driving back from there to go home to Manchester...im a great believer in following your heart and thats what i do...if you listen carefully you always find the right answer inside yourself :) and so i knew it was time to go home :)....




Ok so i knew it was time to go back to my hometown..i just needed to find the right place...was i going to carry on working from home? could i find somewhere that was suitable?..Anyone who knows me knows I'm particular about certain things,...if i have my heart set on something being a certain way..then i won't give up searching for that ...i knew if i was going home it had to be somewhere a bit different, unique!...

Since being a little girl id always wanted to live in the big house in sherdley park... it was by chance i discovered the big barn part of the big house had been converted in to 4 properties! But... it was too late the one available was gone :(....now i believe in positive thinking.. and if you really do want something and its going to be good for you then it will happen ...( however I've yet it to work on winning the jackpot on the lottery but ill keep you all posted on this if anything changes :) )..

I like a crazy lady stalked the barns where i wanted to live ...i got my boyfriend to drive me there a few times just so i could get the 'feel' for the place ..so i could imagine living there ..sure enough a few days later after my last visit i got news one was available !! How amazing!! i walked in and from the first step i wanted to live there! it needed work and still needs work to get it how i want it  ( working on it as i speak )but i know ill be very happy here , its in its own grounds, surrounded by the park  and woods and used to be a farm with so much history... its a creative's dream place :) ..its so romantic :) and i just feel hidden away in my own little world :)

As soon as i walked in there was a room perfect for my studio room with downstairs client toilet and office ( even though i dont use it and do all my editing on my dining table ) its perfect :) ....it was also perfect to do outdoor shoots in the woods right next to me :) which is my favourite kind of photoshoot :) i love the outdoors , the beautiful natural light and natures amazing surroundings.

Ive been here a year now and not only is it a great house  to throw some major parties :)... its also a great place to focus and be creative as its so peaceful here and i have the most beautiful view of the sunrise over the trees in the park :) ....


so your now all upto date on how phunkd came about and where i started :) I've missed some bits out on how i started to learn more photography skills and also about my weddings but i will talk more on that in my next blog :)

so from this blog what have we learnt???

* you dont always need to be an acedemic genius and have a million qualifications to succeed and do what you really want in life ..infact most of the photographers i aspire to have none either :)

* If you have passion you can achieve anything :)

* Always follow your heart :)

* Think Positive ...it WILL happen :)


Love Lou :) 



Photographer | phunkdphotography.co.uk
Thank you my lovely sister :))) and I'm so proud to have you as mine :) xxx
nichola swash(non-registered)
An absolutely amazing photographer x so proud to say louise is my sister x
Photographer | phunkdphotography.co.uk
Thank you everyone that's so lovely of you and means a lot :)) please forgive the few spelling mistakes it was 5 am when I wrote it haha I'll change them now ❤️ :) xxx
The very Proud Auntie of Louise.(non-registered)
I am totally amazed at your achievements my love,you deserve all the happiness the world can give,as YOU give so much.Best Wishes for the future in what you seem to do best in......capturing the very best of each and every situation.xxxxx
What a lovely inspiring read. You write almost as good as you photograph! I have been a fan of yours for a few years now, ever since I saw your amazing work when you captured my daughter's friend's wedding. Keep up the good work, you are doing so very well.
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